April 3, 2020
We wish to recognize Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning
and Edward Snowden as honorary members
of the Anti-War Initiative
The Anti-War Initiative (AKI) wishes to honor the three whistleblowers Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden with honorary memberships. All three have helped open our eyes to the criminal abuses of state power. They have revealed war crimes, human rights violations and mass surveillance on a large scale, and created awareness of crimes that were never intended to be known. Each of the three has acted at great personal cost and is suffering for his sacrifice now. We can do nothing but admire the courage and the steadfastness shown by the three.
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks came into the public light in 2010 when they published tens of thousands of classified documents from the United States, known as Afghan War Diaries and Iraq War Logs. The papers documented more than 100,000 civilian deaths as a result of the respective occupations. A number of compromising leaks made known through WikiLeaks show that states operate outside international law and act as though international jurisdiction doesn’t apply to them. Without Assange and WikiLeak’s operations, these conditions would very likely never have been known.
Chelsea Manning was an intelligence analyst who gave WikiLeaks access to materials that revealed the war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. Best known for having influenced public opinion is the leaked video known as “Collateral Murder”. It shows air-to-ground attacks in Baghdad in July 2007, in which US soldiers from two helicopters shoot civilians on the ground mistakenly taken to be rebels. Among those killed were two journalists from the Reuters news agency. An unknown number of civilians were killed, including women and children. Manning’s intention was to make the American people change their attitude to the war in Iraq by leaking information about the realities of that war.
Edward Snowden worked for the US intelligence service NSA when, in 2013, he leaked classified information on the PRISM intelligence program, an in-depth monitoring program that stores information for all time. Snowden’s disclosures showed that the United States monitors and stores all electronic communications worldwide. He also revealed that the Norwegian military intelligence service is one of the most important partners for the US global surveillance network. The NSA describes the E-service as a perfect partner in Afghanistan, where Norwegian electronic surveillance data accounts for more than half of the intelligence provided to US policy makers. Norwegian military intelligence thus contributes to the US drone war program for extra-judicial liquidations.
By acknowledging Assange, Manning and Snowden with honorary memberships, the AKI wishes to highlight a manifest injustice: the whistleblowers are punished while the war criminals go free.